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Borge, Tomás (1930–)

Borge, Tomás (1930–)

Tomás Borge (b. 13 August 1930), Nicaraguan leader and cofounder of the Sandinista National Liberation Front. Tomás Borge was born into the family of a drugstore owner in Matagalpa. His political experience began in 1946 with the Independent Liberal Party's student arm, the Democratic Youth Front. He mobilized high school and university students in traditional Liberal areas against the Somoza family. He met Carlos Fonseca and Silvio Mayorga in 1954, upon entering law school at the National Autonomous University in León. Two years later he was arrested in connection with the assassination of Anastasio Somoza García and convicted on the basis of false testimony. After being severely tortured, he escaped to Costa Rica in 1959. In 1960 he sought support from Fidel Castro for the nascent revolutionary movement in Nicaragua. He helped found the Sandinista National Liberation Front in July 1961.

In 1963 Borge led combatants in the attack on the National Guard post in Río Coco. Two years later he became an organizer of the short-lived Republican Mobilization movement. This venture failed in 1966, so he returned to guerrilla warfare, participating in the ill-conceived battle at Pancasán in 1967. Borge fled to Costa Rica, then spent time in Peru and Cuba before returning to Nicaragua in 1971. The National Guard captured him in 1976 and again subjected him to torture. The Sandinista takeover of the National Palace in August 1978 led to Borge's release from prison. He subsequently assumed the leadership of the Prolonged Popular War faction with Henry Ruíz and Bayardo Arce.

After the July 1979 Sandinista victory and Somoza's exile, Borge became minister of the interior, in charge of the police and security forces. He also managed the government's relations with the indigenous peoples on the Atlantic coast. In the 1980s he wrote on many subjects, including human rights, national sovereignty, and revolutionary ideology. While in power, Borge was considered the principal representative of the intransigent, Marxist-Leninist wing of the Sandinista regime. He was replaced as minister of the interior by the Chamorro government in April 1990. As of 1993 he was writing articles for Latin American, North American, and European journals.

See alsoNicaragua, Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) .


Tomás Borge, "Tomás Borge Speaks on Human Rights in Nicaragua," in International Press, 16 March 1981, pp. 245-250.

David Nolan, The Ideology of the Sandinistas and the Nicaraguan Revolution (1984).

John Booth, The End and the Beginning: The Nicaraguan Revolution, 2d ed. (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Borge, Tomás. Los primeros pasos: La revolución popular Sandinista. México: Siglo Ventiuno Editores, 1981.

Borge, Tomás. The Patient Impatience: From Boyhood to Guerrilla: A Personal Narrative of Nicaragua's Struggle for Liberation. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 1992.

Borge, Tomás. Women and the Nicaraguan Revolution. Managuá: Departamento de Relaciónes Públicas, Ministerio del Interior, 1982.

Díaz Polanco, Hector. Nicaragua: Autonomía y revolución. Panamá: Centro de Capacitación Social, 1986.

Paternostro, Silvia."The Last Sandinista?" The Nation 263 (November 4, 1996): 22-25.

                                       Mark Everingham

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